I’ve been hyping J. Cole on this blog for a while now, and his rapid rise continues to be a bit of a live case study on how to create a music superstar in 2010. Even though I rarely listen to the radio and haven’t watched MTV in months, seldom does a week go by in which I’m not hit by another bit of original content by or about Jermaine. And at the heart of this prominence is a blindingly-simple secret to contemporary marketing: make stuff.
Music blogs, much like any other contemporary democratized media outlet, don’t (often) write about an artist because someone pays them or because someone calls them up and convinces them to do so. Rather, they cover content; their currency is the new. So, if you’re a brand like J. Cole and want to stay front and center, make stuff. Lots of stuff. Freestyles, mixtapes, interviews, concert clips, leaked tracks, make it all. Focus your energy on being prolific, not on being perfect. For reasons like those mentioned in the above mini-interview with Just Blaze (awesome producer), don’t be too protective of your content or your brand. Let other people see you playing around, and let others play around with your content. But if you’re a contemporary brand, don’t spend so much time talking about yourself. Just go make stuff.
If I hadn’t been up to 3am playing cards (yes I did win, thanks), I would more formally sketch out the J. Cole case study. But for now, enjoy his new single (that dropped about a month ago, which means that it will have been released probably four months prior to commercial release), and also enjoy a re-mix no doubt carefully-crafted as Just Blaze described. Be forewarned: the beat is hot and the lyrics dirty. I’ll share some softer stuff for my folkier fans in the days to come.
Who Dat, J. Cole
And the hilariously-freestyled Joell Ortiz re-mix, hitting up everyone from Brett Favre to the Energizer Bunny to the Wizard of Oz.